©2021 Michael Raven
“This has all happened before and it will happen again.”
Though she’d never turned to me to say these words, I could feel her turning once again to stare out over the rolling plains of prairie grasses moving like waves in the sea as the flowed golden over rise and hollow under the steel skies filled with incoming thunder and rain. The thunderbird, it was said, rising from the mountains in the west and riding over the world, crackling like blue lightning, wings sending squalls in every direction. Clouds like wool cities roared towards us as they had been all afternoon, visible in the vast empty of this place. Someone wiser than either of us, or most familiar with the terrain, would have sought shelter at the first furtive white clouds clustering. We were foolish and had no clue about shelter in these lands — and we knew both truths in our hearts and didn’t fight such things.
Love and apocalypse will make fools and idiots of the best of people. The trade-off was more than worth it. I had her and lived with abandon since the first days of ruin of empires. I never asked her what her thoughts might be about the two of us together; I took it for granted she felt the same, else why would she cling to me so?
“You know what happened?” I asked.
She shook her long dark hair that fell in large cascade curls around her shoulders. Mac had always colored her hair before the shit hit the fans, said she’d be damned if she let the grey show until she couldn’t hide it any longer. Then things went sideways with the world and, like everything else everyone had always done that was less about survival and more about youth, she let it fall to the wayside without another word. She hadn’t instructed me, but I knew it was not something she’d acknowledge, even had I the temerity to bring it up in conversation. It was a pointless discussion in her mind.
“Of course not, Logan. I just… know. This is not the first time. Nor is it the last. This is part of the cycle. It will happen again.”
No one knew what happened, only that something had. The world has stopped working. Period. There was no way to find out what had happened as a result. When cars, radio, television and phones went tits up, it was impossible to convey information. Nothing worked except for muscle power. It’s as if the industrial revolution had never happened and we’d been left with a trillion tons of useless plastic and glass. Then, the old enmities, left unfettered in the vacuum, thrived and old scores were settled, old tensions allowed to explode.
We were idiots in love, but smart enough to leave the cities before that started to happen. We saw enough of it before we left to know it was high time to get the fuck outta Dodge and we started hoofing it out into the countryside. At first, we had no destination, but then Mac began with her talk about being drawn to a place she described from her dreams. At first I thought it was BS. Then, we started to see the things she said she dreamed about and I there was no way to ignore that something was calling her out west.
Of course, everything that happened to the two of us was plain weird.
“Wyrd,” she would correct me when I said things like that, as if she knew I was spelling the word wrong in my head as I said it. Mac had a way with those kinds of things. She seemed to pick up on word choice and how you articulated a word — especially if it was questionable phrasing.
We’d met on accident. Or so I thought. Trading notes, we quickly discovered we knew much more about each other than seemed possible for two people knowing each other for a matter of days. And then the synchronous thinking a month or two into our relationship. Like conjoined twins sharing a brain, we found ourselves effortless finishing one another’s thoughts. I did a double-take for a long time with each time it occurred — Mac accepted it as a new norm within hours.
“Should we maybe try to find some shelter?” I asked, hitching up the frame backpack to make it more comfortable. I’d need to replace a strap soon or the discomfort would get worse. “That rain is looking… pretty fucking much like a downpour for hours straight.”
She shrugged and adjusted her own pack, glancing backwards at me and flashing one of her killer smiles that always made everything alright.
“We can try,” she said with a smirk. “But we won’t find any around here. I believe we are… what’s the technical term…? Fucked.” She started marching toward the mountains, mere ghosts in the distance and only visible against the contrast of the darkening sky. “Yep, I’m pretty sure we’re already fucked.”
I felt the first large drop of rain against my shoulder, looked up and saw a wall of rain heading towards us and had to agree.
Normal caveats apply here, folks. This is first draft with minimal editing, written by the seat of my pants, and I had no clue where I would end up when I started. There may be errors [edit: may, LOL] and I may fix those errors, or I may leave them. This is not intended to be a polished piece.
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